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Judge strikes claim on who can be declared a founder of Tesla Motors

Ruling is consistent with Tesla’s belief in a “founding team” of entrepreneurs and technologists

July 29, 2009

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–A judge has struck down a claim by Martin Eberhard, who asked to be declared one of only two founders of electric car company Tesla Motors Inc.

The ruling Wednesday in San Mateo County Superior Court is consistent with Tesla’s belief in a team of founders, including the company’s current CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk, and Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, who were both fundamental to the creation of Tesla from inception.

“We agree that Eberhard’s claims on the question of who founded Tesla have no merit,” Musk said. “We look forward to proving the facts in court as soon as possible and setting the historical record straight.”

Tesla, which is represented by Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has asked that Eberhard, a former CEO of Tesla, revise his original lawsuit and delete some of the most outrageous and demonstrably false assertions, including implications that Musk may not have received his undergraduate degrees or been accepted to graduate school. Such statements are easily proven false through online degree verification services or other simple fact checking, and they illustrate the degree to which the original lawsuit by Eberhard is a fictionalized account of Tesla’s history.

About Tesla

Based in California's Silicon Valley, Tesla Motors builds electric vehicles with exceptional design, performance and efficiency, while conforming to all safety, environmental and durability standards. The Roadster, which has a 0-to-60 mph acceleration of 3.9 seconds and is twice as energy-efficient as a Toyota Prius, is the only highway-capable production EV for sale today. Tesla has delivered nearly 600 Roadsters to customers and will begin production of the all-electric Model S family sedan in late 2011.


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